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George O'Connor follow-up interview

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012 – 9:30 a.m.

George O'Connor was Veronica Smith's husband. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • George O'Connor

Detective Armstrong: We won't keep you too long here today.

George O'Connor: That's good.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in, Mr. O'Connor. I know you remember, but I'm Detective Murphy. This is Detective Armstrong. And once again we need your name and address for the record?

George O'Connor: I'm George O'Connor, and I live at 142 Colonial Road.

Detective Murphy: We've learned a good deal since the last time we talked to you, and we really need some answers from you, George.

George O'Connor: Ask me anything. I want to find my wife's killer and make sure they pay for this.

Detective Armstrong: The malpractice suit. How did that affect your relationship with your wife?

George O'Connor: Well, as I said before, I concerned about the financial aspect. I mean, if the case settled and the insurance didn't cover it all or if she somehow lost the case and it seriously hurt her practice, well, I could see it'd be a struggle to maintain our lifestyle.

Detective Armstrong: Did you have insurance on Veronica?

George O'Connor: Of course I did. We both had policies.

Detective Armstrong: Who benefits financially from her death?

George O'Connor: Benefits? From her death? Are you serious?

Detective Armstrong: As serious as a heart attack. Let me rephrase this. Who was the beneficiary of her life insurance policy?

George O'Connor: Both Haley and I split the proceeds. Of course, hers would go in a trust account till she's 21.

Detective Murphy: How much was the insurance for, George?

George O'Connor: $1.5 million.

Detective Murphy: Some people would call that motive.

Detective Armstrong: People have been killed for a lot less.

George O'Connor: This is absurd. I didn't kill my wife. Somebody did, but it wasn't me.

Detective Murphy: Have you ever used drugs, George?

George O'Connor: What relevance–

Detective Armstrong: Oh, just answer the question.

George O'Connor: I experimented in college a little bit. Nothing hard, just some weed.

Detective Murphy:  How about your wife? Did she experiment too?

George O'Connor: No. It was hard to get her to take a Tylenol for a headache. Alcohol is the only drug she ever used.

Detective Armstrong: Have you ever heard of "Special K"?

George O'Connor: Of course. There's two boxes of it in my cupboard right now. Can I ask where this line of questioning is leading?

Detective Armstrong: You can ask. Now, what about ketamine? Have you ever heard of that?

George O'Connor: I think it's a drug. I don't know. I'm not the doctor. Ronnie was.

Detective Armstrong: What if your wife was using drugs and she overdosed accidentally?

George O'Connor: No, she'd never do that. She would never, ever risk her family, her practice, her reputation like that. She would never take that chance, never! What are you people trying to pull basically?

Detective Murphy: Calm down, George. Let's talk about something else. Haley said that you were missing from the dance festivities for quite a while. In her words, "It was‒ seemed like forever." Where were you?

George O'Connor: I was in the men's room. I spilled some punch on my shirt. It took a while to clean it up.

Detective Armstrong: Did anyone happen to venture in there while you were there?

George O'Connor: A couple of guys did. Jessie Barton's dad, I believe, was one of them, but I didn't recognize the other guy.

Detective Murphy: George, you told us before that Veronica said she was going to leave work early and pick Haley up from school that day.

George O'Connor: And?

Detective Murphy: Haley told us that her mother was at home when Haley arrived there after school.

George O'Connor: Well then, obviously I misunderstood. It sure wouldn't be the first time and probably won't be the last either. What difference does it make?

Detective Armstrong: It seems like people didn't like your wife very much. They say she was brash, controlling, snobbish, a know-it-all.

George O'Connor: They just didn't understand her drive. She always expected the best out of herself and others.

Detective Armstrong: It doesn't bother you to hear people talk about your wife like that?

George O'Connor: I've heard it before. Like I said, they just didn't understand her.

Detective Murphy: Veronica's sister believes that she was depressed enough at the death of her patient to have easily killed herself. Did you know that?

George O'Connor: I did not know that. She's wrong.

Detective Murphy: She also told us about Veronica's slashed tires. Why didn't you mention any of that to us when we talked to you the last time?

George O'Connor: I guess I didn't think her tires were important.

Detective Armstrong: Now, you think someone killed your wife, but you didn't think it was important that someone slashed her tires?

George O'Connor: Listen, I just lost my wife. If you think that tires entered my mind for one second, they did not. Now look, you brought it up. I'm willing to admit maybe the two are related, and I'm sorry I didn't mention it earlier.

Detective Armstrong: Wonderful. Well now, George, when we talked last, you told us about some text messages that Veronica had been receiving. Now, we've had a chance to look at those messages. Do you know how many she got?

George O'Connor: Ronnie said it was just a few. She really wasn't concerned about it.

Detective Murphy: You never saw them for yourself?

George O'Connor: No, she never showed them to me. Why?

Detective Murphy: Well, there were more ‒ a lot more than just a few, and after reading them, it seems that somebody has been watching your wife for a while. Do you know anything about that?

George O'Connor: Watching? What do you mean?

Detective Armstrong: You never noticed anyone out of place in your neighborhood?

George O'Connor: No. Where are you going with this?

Detective Armstrong: Veronica never said that she thought someone was keeping tabs on her, either at home or elsewhere?

George O'Connor: Of course not! She would've told me if she thought that.

Detective Murphy: So why do you think she didn't tell you about it?

George O'Connor: I don't know. If she thought it was a prank maybe?

Detective Armstrong: How do you think the killer got into your home?

George O'Connor: I really don't know, unless he managed to follow Ronnie in the door that night. Maybe he hid in her car while she was at The Roadhouse? I just don't know.

Detective Armstrong: Now, you keep saying "he." Do you have someone in mind?

George O'Connor: No.

Detective Murphy: Do you keep all your doors and windows locked?

George O'Connor: We lock all our windows and the front door. We get in through the garage using our garage door opener, so you'd have to have our opener to get in that way. We leave the door from the garage to the laundry room unlocked.

Detective Armstrong: Now, why leave that one unlocked?

George O'Connor: We never saw the need to lock it, plus it's kind of awkward when you're trying to bring things in like groceries.

Detective Murphy: Who has keys to your house?

George O'Connor: Well, I do. Haley does, and of course Ronnie had her set.

Detective Murphy: And who has openers for the garage door?

George O'Connor: We kept one in each car, and then there's the one hanging on the wall.

Detective Murphy: Did any of you ever give either a key or a garage door opener to anyone? A relative, babysitter, a handyman or a housekeeper?

George O'Connor: Ever? Probably. Maybe. Nothing comes to mind.

Detective Armstrong: Do you have a security system?

George O'Connor: Unfortunately, no.

Detective Murphy: We have to ask you again, George. Do you know anyone who would harm Veronica?

George O'Connor: I can't point the finger at anybody. I mean, I know some of her colleagues obviously didn't like her very much, and I heard that Kramer said negative things about her.

Detective Murphy: Kramer?

George O'Connor: Dwight Kramer, little weasel works at the hospital.

Detective Murphy: And who told you that Kramer didn't like your wife?

George O'Connor: I can't remember. Maybe it was Michael. I just know that someone told someone and on down the gossip line it went until eventually someone told me.

Detective Murphy: Do you know anyone else who would want to harm her?

George O'Connor: Well, obviously the Lemmons guy didn't like her very much. There might've been others. Like I said, people really didn't get Veronica. I didn't think anybody hated her enough to kill her. Now, listen. I want to find out who killed her more than you two do, but I just don't know. I mean, I feel like I should tell you I'm sorry, but I don't know.

Detective Armstrong: Uh-huh. You know, you say that all your doors and windows were locked, except the one you needed your garage door opener to get to. You claim the only ones that had a key were you, your wife and your stepdaughter. I don't think this looks good for you, George.

Detective Murphy: Did you kill your wife?

George O'Connor: No, I did not!

Detective Armstrong: Did you arrange to have your wife killed?

George O'Connor: I definitely did not! Look, you can give me a lie detector test. I had nothing to do with this.

Detective Armstrong: I think we're done here. We've got your number.

George O'Connor: Hey, wait. We are not done here. You cannot seriously believe that I killed my wife. I would never! You have got to believe me.

Detective Murphy: We're done here.

Detective Armstrong: Have a nice day.

Interview ends: 9:51 a.m.

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